The Eagles are going to have to go the rest of the season without a big part of their defense.
Rodney McLeod had surgery on Thursday morning to repair a torn MCL he suffered in Sunday’s game. His season is over, a league source told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn.
As I reported Monday a league source confirmed to me a short while ago eagle safety Rodney McLeod had surgery this morning for torn MCL his season is over— Derrick Gunn (@RealDGunnNBCS) September 27, 2018
This is a huge loss for the Eagles. While Malcolm Jenkins is one of the Eagles’ best players, McLeod had been playing really well through three games and this is a big loss for the team.
McLeod, 28, joined the Eagles before the 2016 season and has played nearly every game for them since then. He had six interceptions in his first two years in Philly and formed a strong duo with Jenkins.
After Sunday’s game, McLeod said he felt OK and was walking without issue, but the subsequent tests obviously showed there was more damage than originally thought. Head coach Doug Pederson on Wednesday said he wasn’t ready to give an update on McLeod because the results from one final test had yet to come in.
Without McLeod, the Eagles will have to rely on veteran Corey Graham. The 33-year-old signed with the Eagles during training camp to return for his second season with the Birds. He has been playing some, but will now become a starter.
“It really don’t change much,” Graham said on Sunday night about possibly taking over a starter’s role. “We’re going to run our same packages, do the same thing we’ve been doing. Instead of playing 30 plays a game, I’ll play 60. It don’t really change too much for me. I’ll still be doing the same exact thing, but more.”
But with Graham sliding into a starting role, that means the Eagles’ third safety is either Deiondre’ Hall, who came via a trade before the season, or Tre Sullivan, who will probably be promoted from the practice squad.
Without a third safety, the Eagles won’t be able to deploy Jenkins the way they have in past seasons. Jenkins, at times, has played nickel corner and even linebacker.